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  1. Welcome to the eighty-ninth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out. Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Genesect is being distributed at GameStop until November 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- The Wait Is Over As you“re reading my final thoughts before sitting down to play Pokémon Sun...I“m probably curled up somewhere, making my way through it. The rolled out this week, too. The end of it, which showed off a collection of all the “big moments” as they were revealed to us since February, definitely made the cogs in my head turn a little. Over the next few weeks, my brain will shift from speculative to critical...since I“ll be reviewing the game. It“s been over 85 weeks since I started this Individual Values feature, on the cusp of Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. Time and time again, Game Freak has made me think critically about this goofy series with psychic surfing, purple ghosts and Popplio...and where my life [and future wife] are now because of it. I“ve chronicled all my thoughts over tens of thousands of words, making sure to leave no stone unturned. We“ve been fed tiny trailer bits for almost nine months that all seem to indicate, “Things are different this time! Better than ever before! There“s so much to do, and so much to see.” They“ve had an unprecedented bolster in sales expectations, likely due to the success of Pokémon GO—another thing I would have never seen coming, at the start of all this. All of Shigeru Ohmori“s proverbial [Psy]ducks are in a row. There“s never been a better opportunity to release a brand new Pokémon game, especially one that mixes up long-established series conventions. And that“s why...I“m going to be among its harshest critics. I“ve been around and in love with the series for most of its major marketing shifts. The last time Game Freak tried to do something “different” was Black 2 & White 2—my least favorite games in the entire franchise. I know these are fundamentally different times and approaches. But rest assured, even if I never get around to properly elaborating on what exactly I dislike about B2&W2, I will not gush about Sun & Moon just because they're different. One thing I“ll note in particular, speaking of Unova. The Festival Plaza seems like a refresh of Join Avenue, from those games. Now that they“ve taken an entire generation to improve upon Pokémon“s online communications, I“ll be interested to see just how much the basic concept has evolved since 2012. There are multiple parallels to be drawn from the franchise“s entire history...and I suppose that“s fitting, for the “major anniversary games”. I wonder how hard I“ll be fighting with myself to write a review that doesn“t sound like a glorified list of “same vs. different”. I suppose there“s not much left to say, other than that. Let“s all see and judge for ourselves, starting today! I“m not sure what the next few Individual Values pieces will focus on, but you can at least expect a full review, another “The Year in Pokémon”, and...one heck of a send-off to Pokémon“s 20th anniversary from me, at least.
  2. Welcome to the eighty-eighth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out. Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Genesect is being distributed at GameStop until November 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Feelings on Spoilers Since February 26th, when the game was first announced, there have been 22 short videos sharing information and gameplay footage of Pokémon Sun & Moon released in North America alone. I did some rough math; all the game's videos on the Pokémon YouTube channel add up to about 50 minutes total. That doesn“t even include the special E3 bit, which would double that to almost 2 hours of recorded pre-release gameplay. Told you that to ask you this: [For you all,] How much is too much, when it comes to “spoiling” a Pokémon game“s content? Everything I“ve discussed on Individual Values since the game“s announcement has kept in line with the information revealed in the trailers thus far. We“ve seen brand new critters, we understand that old critters can take on new appearances and typings in Alola, and there are a myriad of brand new features making their debut in Sun & Moon...from Z-Moves, to an indirect return to Pokémon Snap. If you“ve never watched a single Sun & Moon trailer, though...and your first exposure to the game was playing the Special Demo Version when it released on the eShop last month...you got to see Riding Pokémon, Z-Moves, and even the PokéFinder for yourself, organically...without a specially curated trailer. If you scour the demo enough, you“d even get to see things like Alolan Dugtrio for yourself...recognizing that familiar Pokémon take on new forms in the game. With all that in mind--is it better to be in the dark? Would you rather see for yourself how much a paradigm shift the Sun & Moon games are shaping up to be, instead of being fed bits of information by an admittedly massive marketing machine? Are you completely indifferent, and you've already looked up the entire Alolan Pokédex and more thanks to leaks? For the first time since February, I“m going to reveal a potential “spoiler” about the post-game [??] of Sun & Moon...because the October 27th trailer did so. Skip to the next paragraph, if you're on "Media Blackout". I think knowing what the final evolutions of the Alolan starters are isn“t that big of a deal. And revealing new Pokémon isn“t really harmful to the experience, since there are a good number of them. But: telling me that Pokémon Trainer Red and Gary Oa--I mean Blue, are in the game and you get to fight them in a new place called the “Battle Tree” that lets you face Champions from other regions...might be taking it a bit too far, in my opinion. It kind of makes me wonder: if Gold, Silver & Crystal Version had been new releases in this day and age, would we know about the Kanto region being included in the game prior to taking our first step there? How many potential spoilers like that one are marketable and would help a game get talked about on Social Media? Is it ever going to be possible to experience a Pokémon game “like it used to be” anymore? Is knowing what starter you“ll choose plus the various bells and whistles a game has in advance...the most viable option for the modern and newly introduced Pokémon fan? I have more questions than revelations this week, so I“m certainly interested to hear your thoughts regarding any of the questions I“ve asked. But by golly, let me state for the record: I am ecstatic about what Popplio, Rowlet and Litten will turn out to be. Ye ole fire-cat is probably my least favorite of the three, but it“s not Fire/Fighting, so it“s good enough for me!
  3. Welcome to the eighty-seventh week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out. Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Volcanion is being distributed at GameStop until this coming Monday,October 31st. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Crossovers and Oddities Just as a disclaimer: I“m sitting down to write this prior to the October 27th reveal. If anything earth-shattering happens, I suppose I“ll get to it next week! As you“re reading this, I“m either in the air or on the ground in Nashville, attending a friend“s wedding. Anyway, I digress: Have you all heard of the Costume Pikachu line of plushies? This one is probably the most well-known of the bunch. But... we“ve seen Pikachu dress up as other Pokémon, in raincoats or graduation caps, and more. Its “cosplay” is so popular in Japan that there“s even a Monthly Pikachu/Pikachu Pair subscription service in Japan, where you get a new costumed plush each month. I“m not that dedicated, but... I will admit I may have a problem. Told you that to tell you this: Alas, the artwork you see isn“t a spin-off game or mini-game in Pokémon Sun & Moon (yet?), but rather a special Costume Pikachu line celebrating both Pokémon and Mario. I“ve paired it with the original Famicom art for Super Mario Bros. so you can see how outstanding of a tribute it really is. Take a look at the official site to make grabby hands at all the available merchandise to import, if that“s your thing. This line begs the question though. You know, the one I asked way back in IV 20: Why haven“t The Pokémon Company created a platforming game starring Pikachu and others? This special Costume Pikachu certainly seems like a logical first step. There are a handful of interviews out there about Sun & Moon, like these from Game Informer and USGamer. They“re great reads, and there“s plenty of info to glean from them. You can learn why the Alolan Forms we“ve seen are all of Kanto Pokémon in particular, why Soaring won“t be returning in Pokémon Sun & Moon, and even figure out if there“s going to be something special associated with transferring Pokémon from the eShop releases of Red/Blue/Yellow/Green to Sun & Moon. There“s also this bit I picked up from Twitter. To save you a click: It seems HMs will still be present in Sun & Moon, despite the existence and overall purpose of PokéRide. To reaffirm a bit: the ability to Fly using Charizard, Rock Smash using Tauros, Surf using Lapras, etc — that“s all to negate the need of catching a Bidoof or a Pidgey and putting them on your team with the explicit purpose of making all four moves they learn HMs. I think they could have been more straightforward with what PokéRide is philosophically made to do by doing away with the concept of HMs entirely, in favor of making field moves like Cut into TMs. But I guess I can properly address this criticism when I get the final game in my hands. Just a few small tidbits this week! Don“t forget: this weekend is your last chance to nab Volcanion at GameStop; it's bound to not be available again for a while. Next month, you“ll need to return there in order to grab Genesect — again, that“s from November 1st through 24th. We“re getting closer and closer to the release of Sun & Moon! I“ll see you guys next week to discuss today“s news and more. But, seriously, I never knew I needed a Pikachu dressed as Luigi until I saw one.
  4. Welcome to the eighty-sixth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out. Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Keldeo is available via the Nintendo Network until this coming Monday, October 24th. Volcanion is being distributed at GameStop until October 31st. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Demolition Switch ...I never would have imagined I“d be talking about the Pokémon Sun & Moon Demo and the revealed identity of Nintendo“s Codename “NX” in the same week. But here we are. Honestly, I“m a little overwhelmed. In the grand scheme of things, departing from the “Wii” and “DS” branding has be breathing the actual biggest sigh of relief. As soon as you see for the Nintendo Switch, you“ll see why this whole thing“s going to come back around to Pokémon in a little while. For now, let“s get a rather big “negative” out of the way. I put that in quotes, because depending on how much you care—this news could bounce right off you. As I feared, the demo for Pokémon Sun & Moon was data-mined within hours. I haven“t sought out spoilers and won“t...and you can rest assured that my Individual Values feature will remain spoiler-free and never discuss data-mined content prior to the game“s release. But for those curious, the entire 7th Generation Pokédex is out there for the world to see now, including every new Pokémon & many not-yet-officially-known Alolan Forms. I think even more info may be out there, but...I“m absolutely living up to the metaphor of putting my head in the ground, and have since the demo released. You all definitely don“t want to hear me waffle on about the Demo for 600 words, when you could just go grab it as we speak and see for yourself. But I“ll offer a few tid-bits in case you“re still on the fence: The Pokémon Sun & Moon Demo is a stand-alone experience that is separate from events in the main game. It has locations you“ll probably rediscover, but the tasks you perform will not be replicated. The story has you take a Greninja sent to you from a mysterious trainer who forgot to write his name, and participate in a quick Island Trial that primarily uses the PokéFinder. It“s got its fair share of battles, so you can see the new and improved UI in action. It“s almost inevitable that you“ll see your Greninja become Ash-Greninja through its Battle Bond Ability. And Professor Kukui lends you his Pikachu holding a Z-Crystal, so you“ll specifically get to see its Z-Move in action during the climax of the story. The unfolding story involves menial tasks, at best. “Go do the thing! Fight the thing!” After about twenty minutes or so of content, you“ll see the trailer for the game, signifying that the demo has come to a close. But: there“s still more to do! If you jump back in after the fact, you“ll unlock PokéRide to play with a bit, be able to catch (but not keep) critters, discover plenty of items to bring over to the full game, and more. There“s plenty of content, and it“s going to be spread out through daily events. It gives you reason to keep coming back to your tiny piece of the Alola Region before the full game. A few things of note. The UI is even better seen in practice. You can view a Pokémon“s EVs and IVs from the conventional Summary screen for the first time in the main series, with a simple mash of the Y button. Longtime series jingles, like the “Item Get!” chime and the capture music...all have a very Hawaiian flair to them. Even beyond the graphical interface, you“ll notice right away that everything about how the game functions wants Alola to feel unique. There“s not much new in the way of music...it“s all stuff we“ve heard from the various trailers released up to this point. Team Skull isn“t evil...they“re just hard. I“d give the demo a solid eight out of ten, personally. It“s not going to break any ground with its content, but it does a decent job of showing what“s new and returned with the 7th Generation games. You really should give it a try, if you“re not chomping at the bit for Sun & Moon. If you are though, and you don“t really care about Ash-Greninja...I might suggest waiting a bit. Some of the features the demo offers [like PokéRide for example] feel kind of shoe-horned in. It may be better to experience these things as the actual game“s story allows, with a team you can keep and raise for yourself, instead of just one Pokémon. Don“t let me deter you though! The Nintendo Switch seems like everything the Wii U should have been, in my opinion. Conceptually, it“s like if the Wii U and 3DS merged together to form a beautiful demi-god console & portable hybrid. As seen in the preview trailer, you can indeed play The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the go...at the park, on a plane, or in the backseat of your car. If console and portable development have truly merged into one thanks to the Switch--it“s only natural to assume that, for the first time ever, we could see a mainline Pokémon game developed with both portable and TV play in mind. By the time we see an 8th Generation of games, if the Switch has a successful market...hoo, just imagine the possibilities! The Switch certainly seems like it“s ushering a new frontier for Nintendo Gaming. This may hold true for Game Freak and The Pokémon Company as well. Have you played the Sun & Moon Demo for yourself? How do we all feel about it? How did y“all react to the Switch reveal? I guess the “NX” is now the “NS”. Plenty to share, if you“re so inclined!
  5. Welcome to the eighty-fifth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out. Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Keldeo is available via the Nintendo Network until October 24th. Volcanion is being distributed at GameStop until October 31st. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Rainbow Garbage and Synthetic Gods Yet another for Pokémon Sun & Moon was released earlier today. We“ve got some new evolved forms of Pokémon to discuss, as well as Alolan Grimer and Muk. And there were a handful of new characters shown off at the end that could drop some subtle hints of things to be revealed in the not-too-distant future. Honestly, I was expecting something a little “bigger” this week, considering we“re just four days away from the demo... and data-miners "spoiling" everything, ever. Oops, did I say that part out loud? The Pokémon that leaves the most room for discussion of all the ones revealed today is Silvally, the evolved form of Type: Null. When it “gains a partner it can trust,” it destroys the restraining mask on itself, as per the website. Its ability [RKS System] and unique move [Multi-Attack] work the same as Arceus“s Multitype & Judgement combination, if I“m understanding things properly. Its type will change in battle depending on the item it“s holding, and Multi-Attack“s type changes as a result. It“s almost like Type: Null and Silvally are, collectively, a synthetic Arceus. Remember the theory I dropped when Type: Null was first revealed? I still think it“d be really cool to have a MISSINGNO transferred from Pokémon RBY turn into Type: Null -- something that“s effectively a “false-god.” I think this Pokémon in particular is going to be important to Sun & Moon“s narrative, considering the special artwork of it and Gladion… and the fact that he seems to be the only Trainer in Alola who has one. Maybe certain events will unfold, and Gladion will entrust Silvally to the player? Or will there be a second one created for the player“s use? Speculating how one will obtain this very unique Pokémon could certainly lend to some interesting discussion. I liked on why Alolan Grimer has... a bit of a yellow beard going on. But as it turns out... it“s just that way because of crystallized garbage from the region...yuck! I think it“s pretty funny that the website pretty much openly admits that they brought Grimers from other regions to Alola to specifically eat the increased population“s garbage. It certainly piques my interest, that this “tropical vacation” destination seems to rely a little too much on using Pokémon as glorified tools. But I digress! Alolan Muk“s added... garbage layers... aren“t just limited to its mouth. When seeing it in action during the trailer, you can see that it almost has this... unique garbage rainbow hue going on about it, where its toxins are constantly in motion. As it turns out -- this... unique... part of it reduces the intense smell that regular Muks have. That“s a fun tid-bit! Now for some evolutions of new Pokémon. Hakamo-o & Kommo-o are the full line of Jangmo-o, Alola“s Dragon Pokémon. Each generation has had one so far, except Johto. There“s Dragonite, Salamence, Garchomp, Haxorus, and Goodra... but Kommo-o“s a little different! It“s got a unique typing of Dragon & Fighting...which stands a bit in contrast to the numerous Dragon/Flying Pokémon currently on the roster. This one“s definitely looking like it“ll end up on my team. Next: Steene and Tsareena are the full line of Bounsweet, that Pokémon that looks a lot like a tropical fruit. This Pokémon that kind of starts out terrified of everything because it looks so delicious... evolves into a Pokémon with a regal personality (and Ability, to boot). Said ability makes it so intimidating that priority moves (like Quick Attack) are banned! Tsareena doesn“t have a unique typing at all (just pure Grass), but that Ability is certainly something. And lastly, there“s Ribombee, the evolution of Cutiefly. There“s not a whole lot to say about this Pokémon in particular... especially when contemporaries like Beedrill, Butterfree, Beautifly, Vespiquen and more have been done to death at this point. But the typing of “Bug/Fairy” makes this critter unique, and it may be more advantageous than normal to keep Alola“s “beginner bug variation” on your team for a little longer than usual. I guess we“ll see! Last but not least, there were some new Trainers introduced! Olivia is the Kahuna of Akala Island, and specializes in Rock Pokémon. Now... when one of the new leaders made mention of using a Marowak, we got an Alolan Forme sometime later. Olivia used a Nosepass as her introductory Pokémon. Could this point towards an Alolan Probopass, maybe? Or will some other Rock Type out there get a new form to show off... like Geodude, Graveler or Golem, if we“re sticking with Kanto here? And then there“s Illima is a Trial Captain that specializes in Normal Types. Hopefully we won“t get a repeat of Whitney“s Miltank [and its Rollout], eh? Next week“s Individual Values is gonna be interesting, indeed. I“ll offer up my thoughts on the Pokémon Sun & Moon Special Demo... and kinda hoping against hope that most of the game stays under wraps, so we can discover things for ourselves. Until then: how do you all feel about the new Pokémon and people shown off today? Anyone else find Alolan Muk as unsettling as I do? Be sure to let us know!
  6. Welcome to the eighty-third week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out. Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Keldeo will be available via the Nintendo Network from October 1st through 24th. Furthermore, the final 6th Generation Pokémon, Volcanion, will be distributed at GameStop sometime this month. I'll let you know when, as soon as we know more. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Server-side Structure I“m about 55 hours deep in Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past. So I don“t really have anything new to report on the Pokémon front this week. However—more news has been hinted for October 4th, so I won“t rest on my laurels for too long. The spin-off series is still continuing, and you can use Mystery Gift & enter the code Darkrai20 to claim the Mythical Pokémon Darkrai, which was distributed at GameStop earlier this year. If you already got a code from GameStop earlier, you won't be able to use this one. That should have y“all about current! Let“s talk about part of last week“s news that The Pokémon Company kind of glazed over, and didn“t choose to devote parts of a trailer to it or anything. Verified here: an update to Pokémon Bank in January 2017 will allow you to port Pokémon from XY and ORAS over to Sun & Moon via a one-way transfer. Indeed: once again, Game Freak is choosing not to let you port your all-powerful critters from past games to the brand new ones until about two months after release. I get why that“s kind of necessary: it“ll stop people like me from becoming a Pokémon Master again in just a couple of weeks, right? It gives everyone ample time to enjoy the Alola Region as a whole, and catch everything we can there before Lv100 Mewtwos plague the GTS forever. It“s interesting to me, though, that once Pokémon are transferred over from Gen6 to Gen7, they can“t be brought back to the games they came from. It“s not a new practice for the series, but...I kind of anticipated Pokémon Bank to make things more uniform, and allow the first 721 critters to move freely between all past and present Pokémon games starting with XY/ORAS. Guess I thought wrong! Furthermore: [an updated] PokéTransporter is going to be the means by which critters from Red, Blue and Yellow can be brought over to Sun & Moon, also restricted to a one-time transfer. Once they leave the Kanto region, they can“t go back! I“m probably going to wait a while before I transfer my full batch of RBY Pokémon over, until I“m fully aware of what moves are going to be viable in Alola. My dreams of a battle-ready No Guard Machamp with Fissure may yet still come true! And last but not least: a new National Pokédex feature is coming to Bank with the latest update. Using it will analyze the save data(!!!) from any game you use with Bank in order to generate a Pokédex that will tell you what games you can find critters you may be missing. That“s kind of crazy! Seems like they genuinely want folks to “catch ;em all”, since they“ll be able to use data from multiple games to do it. All this Bank stuff begs the question though, considering my previous thoughts on backing up save data. Can Pokémon Bank be accessed in a new way, starting with the Generation 7 games? Picture this: You walk into any Pokémon Center and access your PC, as always, which features 30+ unique boxes of offline storage, ready to be grabbed at anytime. However: what if they were to add a separate tab onto the Pokémon Center PCs that let you access your data on the Pokémon Bank servers without ever leaving your game to go into the app? Not leaving the main games to access Bank would remove a largely inconvenient, [seemingly] unnecessary barrier preventing folks from simply storing every Pokémon they have on Pokémon Bank“s servers, just in case of a data loss. Being able to grab Pokémon freely from “the cloud” without ever having to leave my game to go into an app and prompt ten different loading cycles...would be the single most welcome change to come to the franchise, for me personally. If my 3DS is ever lost or stolen--as long as I have all my existing Pokémon saved to the server instead of the games, I could conceivably get every critter back, once I“ve migrated to a new system. I wouldn“t mind a brief lag to connect to the Internet every time I used the PC, as long as there was always an offline option to use in case I“m not around Wi-Fi. So there we have it! A little Bank-related PSA, and some hopeful speculation on my part. How do you all feel about my idea? Disappointed you have to wait a few months before porting critters over from previous games? Be sure to let us know!
  7. Welcome to the eighty-first week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out. Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Victini will be available via the Nintendo Network until September 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Untold Stories As you“re reading this, I“m probably several hours into Dragon Quest VII on 3DS. I contemplated calling this week“s feature “Farewell”, because the world may never see me again. You know it. I know it. And Game Freak knows it, which is why they decided to release Pokémon Sun & Moon two months after the fact—I“m totally the reason for that. Yup! All jokes aside, some of the biggest news of this week happened outside of the main games. I“ll cover a bit of GO stuff, first: “The Buddy System”, as I“m affectionately calling it, went live just days ago. With it, you can figuratively have your critters walk with you like they would have in Pokémon HeartGold & SoulSilver. Here“s my canonical ten-year-old Pikachu, who will eventually sit on my shoulder in my profile after I walk ten kilometers with her. Nice Easter Egg there, Niantic. The “problem” with the Buddy System had to do with expectations versus reality, I think. When this stuff was leaked, plenty of folks assumed it would replace the “need” to find rarer Pokémon like Dratini multiple times over, because you could walk with one and get candy. A lot of folks were dismayed to find that Pokémon like Dratini require 5km of walking to earn just one candy. Uncommon Pokémon, like the Kanto starters, require 3km. And critters like Pikachu and Magikarp only require 1km. So, with the example of Dratini Candy in mind: in order to evolve my Dragonair into a Dragonite, without ever capturing another Dratini from this day forward, I would need to walk 385 kilometers or 239 miles. As it stands--the Buddy System isn“t designed to replace hunting, it“s designed to supplement it. I think it would have been fairer to make the requirements 1km/2km/3km instead of 1km/3km/5km, but...that“s just me, I guess. It still sparked a relatively renewed interest in the app, anyway. Back in late 2013, the short Pokémon Origins anime made ways within the community. This four episode mini-series [watch here] was a departure from the long-running anime, instead choosing to tell the story of Pokémon Red & Blue, through the eyes of Pokémon Trainer Red. It stayed remarkably true to the games, often echoing the script entirely, and only embellished on points that made the most sense to the story being told. They made Mr. Fuji—the guy in Lavender Town that gives you the Poké-Flute—one of the scientists responsible for creating Mewtwo. Other than that, it was like watching the Game Boy games come to life! Told you that to tell you this: on Tuesday, The Pokémon Company officially announced Pokémon Generations, a follow-up to the Origins spin-off that, rather than focusing on Red & Blue, encompasses all six generations of Pokémon. ! I“m really, really looking forward to seeing how they handle each game“s narrative—especially since we see Giovanni in the same appearance he took on from his . If you got the Event Celebi from those days, you could be transported back into the past--whereupon you fight Giovanni as Gold, and learn that your rival is actually his son. It was a really nice touch--one that they“ll probably expand upon in the new anime. If you“re as interested as I am--it“s set to debut today! So check out the official Pokémon YouTube channel. Last but not least: CoroCoro revealed the evolution of Rockruff, that cute dog Pokémon. Turns out, it“ll evolve differently depending on if you have Sun or Moon. There“s no English reveal yet, so we can only go on the Japanese translations of “Midday” and “Midnight” formes of its evolution, Lugarugan. Is this the first time a specific evolution has been gated behind owning a certain version of the game? That about covers it, this week. Has the Buddy System renewed your interest in Pokémon GO at all? Excited for Generations, or does it just bounce right off you? Be sure to let us know!
  8. Welcome to the eightieth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out. Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Victini will be available via the Nintendo Network until September 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Poké-Finding Your Place It“s very rare that I come away from Pokémon News feeling almost overwhelmed. Where do I even start this time? The stuff you can unpack from the newest trailer probably rivals a Snorlax in weight, so I think we should start by watching it. I should discuss everything our eyes take in here, even though multiple bits from it could probably stand to have future IV pieces devoted to them. So it goes. First and foremost, we have the new Pokémon Type: Null. Its typing [Normal] and ability [Battle Armor] don“t necessarily speak to anything remarkable about it...but that“s definitely a weird name, and a very bizarre appearance, too. Take a look at the website's listing for it, too. Type: Null seems to be a constructed Pokémon—kind of like Mewtwo, I suppose—that "can adapt to any situation". Here“s my theory, based on everything we've seen about it so far...particularly the fact that it wears a mask. We could be looking at what MISSINGNO turns into, if you transfer it from Pokémon Red, Blue or Yellow Version on 3DS by way of Pokémon Bank. Its overall appearance, name, and masked "nothingness" references kind of beg for this. Its stats from back then could certainly rival "Pokémon spoken of in mythology"! ... It“d be real weird and cool for them to make MISSINGNO canon in the anniversary games. Next up is Jangmo-o... a Dragon type Pokémon that“s likely going to be immune to Hyper Voice since it packs Soundproof as an ability. Not bad at all! Can“t wait to see what it evolves into. The Alolan Forme of Raticate is going to beg for memes as much as its pre-evolution. Those cheeks are the stuff of legends! And now for something a little nuts: Pokémon Sun & Pokémon Moon are set twelve hours apart from one another, but they“ll still operate in real time. This means that if you play a copy of Pokémon Moon at 4 PM Eastern, it“ll be 4 AM in the game. There“s a real possibility that Moon players will be in practically endless night, depending on when you“re most able to play the game. Both story and battle elements will play out differently in each version, as a result of this time schema. I can definitely see why they“re attempting something like this. It could certainly make for the biggest crop of version differences in series history. Also introduced is the Aether Foundation. There“s Lusamine, Faba, Wicke, and their employees. This group seems kind of like the opposite of Team Skull--existing primarily to protect Pokémon from harm, on a man-made island separate from the four major spots in the Alola region. The Internet is already predicting which one of them is going to end up a turncoat. I wonder how Team Skull's "Enforcer" will work into it. Oddly comforting to see a bit of nihilism in the Pokémon fandom. Call me crazy from reading a little too much of the Pokémon Manga lately--but what if the whole foundation turns crazy on us, deciding that humanity is a blight that are getting in the way of Pokémon and...seek to eradicate everyone but them? ...Moving on! There seems to be a whole sidequest involving the search for Zygarde's Cells and Cores, too. I guess the game is following behind the anime, in this respect. But could Zygarde's appearance in Sun & Moon bring more Kalos-specific characters besides Dexio and Sina from X & Y? I wonder if "Z-Moves" factor into Zygarde itself, too. While it“s not looking very likely that players will be able to journey to Kalos itself, I think a whole subplot involving Zygarde, Lysandre, and Team Flare will indeed factor into Sun & Moon somehow! And then we reach the point in the trailer where the Internet/fandom exploded: Pokémon Snap is returning to the main series, by way of the "PokéFinder". This gizmo is a camera for use with the Rotom Dex that lets you snap photos of wandering critters around the world. The trailers showcased things like a wild Pikachu striking a pose, a Dragonite flying through the air, an Eevee and Lillipup playing together, and more. Your photos can be rated--and as your sense of photography improves, you“ll gain extra features to go along with it [like the ability to zoom in]. Sure sounds like a fully functional "Snap" to me. Take a look at this tweet. Take pictures of every Pokémon? Yes, please! It seems like only certain areas in the Alola region will be "Snap"-friendly. Last, but most certainly not least: What the heck are Ultra Beasts? They're a thing that "poses a threat to both humans and Pokémon"--so I don“t think the newly revealed "UB-01" is a Pokémon at all. I'm piggy-backing off Twitter-friend @BombosMedallion here, but: what if these things help pave the way to actual RPG-style bosses in Pokémon? If they're not Pokémon themselves, they cannot be caught. And they're not Trainers, so they won't use other critters in battle. It could be crazy if these things end up being very high-powered foes to face in battle using tricks like Z-Moves to gain the upper-hand. Here“s another person that may be onto something. These UBs could resemble major characters in-game. What if their narrative is set up kind of like Persona, where we get a major character developed around a UB that ends in a big boss fight--not against the Trainer, but against a UB--like many an RPG sidequest? Certainly not unique to the genre, but absolutely a first for Game Freak themselves. I“m interested to see where they decide to take these things. ...Almost 1,000 words later: like I said, there“s a lot to unpack. What“s your favorite new reveal of the latest Sun & Moon trailer? Does the twelve hour time-difference make you rethink your previous "version of choice?" Be sure to share!
  9. Welcome to the seventy-eighth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Victini will be available via the Nintendo Network from September 1st through 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Drawing Circles, Spinning Off Love or hate Pokémon GO, I think it“s to blame for a few trends, as of late. If you haven“t heard--the Nintendo 3DS was the number one best-selling hardware for the month of July--up freaking 80% from last year. Pokémon ORAS, and even Pokémon X&Y--games from two years ago or longer--made the sales charts as well. It“s clear that the success of the mobile app has driven people to The Real Deal, and that“s exactly what Mr. Iwata set out to do with the initiative to bring Nintendo into the mobile space. Cool deal, right? The other thing it seems to have done is give Nintendo a shot in the arm, when it comes to releasing any Pokémon game they can on the Virtual Consoles across the globe. In the past month, North America has gotten all three Pokémon Ranger games on the Wii U Virtual Console--same goes for Japan. Europe got Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky, as well as Pokémon Snap. [And I can reasonably predict, since there“s been a Ranger game released here every two weeks, that we“ll get Snap on September 1st. Hope I“m right!] That“s what I“ve been up to in my spare time, lately. Hanging out with my Ukulele Pichu friend in Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs. While I“ve played all three games in the Ranger spin-off series, Guardian Signs is the only one I beat. I think, by the third game, the formula was refined enough not to turn me away with its...circle-drawing complexities. And the puzzles, story, and overall appeal of the premise was probably at its best after two previous attempts. But hey. Having a Pichu that played a ukulele didn“t hurt it at all. As soon as Pokémon Snap releases, we“ll have every current kind of spin-off available on current generation Nintendo hardware, with the exception of a Stadium. The 3DS has two Trozei-style games in Battle Trozei & Shuffle, respectively. It“s got Pokémon Rumble World and Pokémon Puzzle Challenge, too. There“s even the old TCG Game Boy Color game, even if it lacks needed multiplayer capabilities. And there“s Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, of course. The Wii U has PokéPark available digitally, Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire, all three Ranger games, and [eventually] Pokémon Snap. I...really don“t think I“m missing anything, do you? That“s a lot of extracurricular things to do in the world of Pokémon. It[”s impressive how versatile the brand has proven itself to be over twenty years, even if they“re sorely missing a platforming game. I think the Ranger series is among my favorite of their endeavors. Don“t get me wrong--I obviously love Mystery Dungeon & Snap. But the Pokémon Ranger games, despite their flaws, offer up a unique kind of puzzle-solving gameplay. Battling could probably use an overhaul, especially if they ever make one for a system that doesn“t have an innate touch-screen or stylus. But, if you take away the drawing and just look at the Ranger “world” for what it is--it“s the closest thing the franchise has to an adventure game. Even if the stories all feel a little juvenile, they still capture the “point” of the Pokémon games. The way these Rangers thank the Pokémon every time they release them back into the wild is just one small indicator of that. Honestly--I“m not sure how Ranger gameplay could translate to a console without a touch-screen. But I“d be willing to see a new Ranger game through! Ranger, Snap and Stadium are the three bigger endeavors I think could warrant a brand new retail game, to be sold at stores and what-not. But I“m curious why we haven“t seen a new Pokémon Pinball entry in so long, most of all. That kind of endeavor could end up mitigated to the eShop, but there“s certainly potential. Even if they did choose to make it a full retail game: it could start out with a limited number of Pokémon, and offer the old tables—and older Pokémon too—as DLC, like the Zen Pinball games often do. I can“t imagine designing intuitive pinball tables and bonus levels would take huge chunks of staff and development time. Of all the spin-offs we“ve seen come and go, the lack of a new Pinball game leaves the biggest question mark in my head. Maybe I“m just too nostalgic for my own good. Is there any particular spin-off that you enjoyed most of all, among all the currently available ones? Am I off my rocker about Pinball? Heck, did playing Pokémon GO compel you to pick up one of the newer [or older] mainline games and get back into the series, like the aforementioned numbers indicate? I“m interested to hear your thoughts.
  10. Welcome to the seventy-seventh week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Arceus will be available at participating GameStop stores until August 24th.You'll need to get a card with a serial code. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Another Revolution There has been plenty more Sun & Moon news, since last we spoke. and CoroCoro have revealed several new Pokémon [including a *sand castle*] and Alolan Meowth, Marowak & Raichu, respectively. We even get a good look at the main antagonists of the game, Team Skull! Interesting to note that Team Skull already exists in a certain other game. And hey! I“ve also been reading the Pokémon manga for the first time ever. It“s much more eclectic than the games and anime, both. I recommend them if you“re looking for stories with a bit more of a darker edge to them. Like--the writing doesn“t seem afraid to kill Pokémon [it's kind of done off-screen, but death, not fainting, is implied], or to put Trainers“ lives in actual danger. I“ve yet to see a storyline in the main games or spin-offs go that far, beyond subtext. It“s funny. We were supposed to get yesterday“s news this morning, as you“re reading this--but The Pokémon Company uploaded the trailers early, to respond to leaks. Instead of discussing formerly pre-emptive news, let“s spend this week“s IV unpacking an interesting rumor. “Reports” say that a new Pokémon game could happen within the launch window of...Whatever The Heck The Nintendo NX Is. It“s been a while since I put on my Supposition Hat--let“s speculate, shall we? Prior to Sun & Moon and...the insatiable wait for "Pokémon Z", the main games were beginning to feel like annual Things. I really don“t think that a “main-line” Pokémon game could be coming to NX less than a year after the launch of Sun & Moon. To follow the sixth generation, where we didn“t have a Yellow, Emerald, or “2” Version...with a glorified third game or port...seems kind of counter-intuitive to the massive brand-refresh that Sun & Moon seemingly communicate. Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon is still relatively fresh. Rumble World is a little older, but only just got released at retail in North America. Besides, I don“t think either one of those types of games are what would move systems as part of a Highly Enticing Launch Window. The same can be said for other spin-off games like Pokémon Ranger or PokéPark. Alas, if there“s anything to this rumor at all, there“s only one type of game that wouldn“t be a harbinger of “Pokémon Fatigue”. The last “Stadium-esque” game the franchise saw was Pokémon Battle Revolution for Wii, first released in Japan almost ten years ago. That game didn“t even see a refresh for HeartGold & SoulSilver, let alone offer iterative experiences during the fifth and sixth generations. It truly has been almost a decade since we could see our critters on the big screen. I think it“d be pretty neat--and not particularly demanding of Game Freak or its development partners, to bring back battling on TV to the next big Nintendo console. I“m not sure if the next “Battle on TV” game will end up sharing the Stadium moniker, but it could be good for the nostalgia crowd that“s been playing GO. And a lot of Sun & Moon has been marketed on nostalgia & the big anniversary, so a return to “Stadium” after a sixteen year rest could be a swell marketing tactic. But--for all the fun those games were in their day, could you accomplish much with them? It may be wiser to develop something like Pokémon Colosseum or , where a whole new region and stories were crafted, to go a bit beyond just straight arena battles. Still. The argument against all this is...now that battles are more three-dimensional and graphically intensive than ever before--and you can seamlessly fight both friends and strangers online in the sixth generation--there“s no real need for a “Stadium” on the big screen. I“ll admit it“s a bit of a weak argument, since there“s nothing quite like the new life that high-definition visuals breathe into these critters. But the point stands. I rarely pay attention to rumors. But if this one“s true, there“s nothing else that really makes sense--nothing else that wouldn“t demand too much of the developers“ time while they were working on Sun & Moon. As much as I“d like to say, “Well yeah, it could also be 'Pokémon Snap NX'”--that kind of endeavor seems like it would be entirely too time-intensive to expect less than a year after the release of Sun & Moon. Developing a “Stadium” counterpart while focusing the main efforts on fleshing out the upcoming releases sounds much more feasible. I“m not sure what to expect. But I guess that“s half the excitement, as of late. I“ll be sure to revisit this subject after we know what the NX even is, but--for now, I figured it“d be fun to speculate. What do you all think this rumored game could be? Am I right on the money, or is it one of those things I insist would be too unrealistic? Please do share!
  11. Welcome to the seventy-sixth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Arceus will be available at participating GameStop stores until August 24th.You'll need to get a card with a serial code. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Paradigm Shift I think I“m finally beginning to understand why it took The Pokémon Company so long to reveal Sun & Moon. After weeks of my focus being outside of the upcoming games, has given me way more than just new Pokémon to talk about. Before I address the specific pieces and parts of the footage we got, let me open with this: Each region in the World of Pokémon definitely has some unique characteristics and places to them. My Region Spotlights highlighted some cool sights to see in each region, as well as what I felt were the main “point”s each game was trying to communicate through its locales. Regardless of how each region differs thematically, one of the biggest criticisms I“ve heard from people who left the series is that “Pokémon is the same game over and over. Get eight badges in gyms, defeat the Big Bad, get the Legendary on the box, and win.” There isn“t really much defense you can offer towards this argument. With the exception of Pokémon Black & White, every game ends with a Hall of Fame entry, after all. Gyms have long been what“s held the Pokémon series back, in my opinion. No matter how distinguished a region is, or what lengths a game“s mechanics help to set them apart from the ones that came before it--it“s still “get 8 badges to win”. Omega Ruby made me happy when it gave me the National Pokédex and said “okay, the world“s your oyster now” before I defeated the Elite 4 and became the League champ--that was a nice change of pace. ...But after seeing the new footage, watching what appears to be the first major paradigm shift in Pokémon history since the Nintendo WFC was introduced to it back in 2007...I haven“t been This Freaking Excited for a new crop of Pokémon games in a long while. BUT FIRST! Let“s talk about my precious little ice fox. I know the Internet seems far more attached to Exeggutor, but there“s a clear winner for “best new Alola forme” in my heart, and it“s not just because Vulpix is my fiancée“s favorite Pokémon. Let“s briefly address what “region-specific formes” bring to mind. Will this new appearance and typing only affect Alolan Vulpixes you find in the wild, who have made this place their habitat for However Long? Or will there be some way to transform a Vulpix you caught in Kalos or elsewhere, once you“ve transferred them over using Pokémon Bank? While there“s no conclusive evidence yet, I suspect it“s going to be the former. It gives folks who“ve already raised these critters a reason to raise another all over again. Might make a few folks angry? I“m indifferent either way. I also feel like Exeggutor, Vulpix/Ninetales, and Sandshrew/Sandslash are just the beginning. that explains why Marowak/Cubone could be getting an Alolan forme as well. But the biggest one missing for me personally is Tropius. The Alolan region and Exeggutor both boast tropicality -- Tropius kind of sticks out like a sore thumb now, doesn“t it? It really does feel like they“re going above and beyond to make the Alolan Pokédex -- not just the region itself -- feel unique (Rotom, don“t forget!) and tropical, in nature. I haven“t run into a single design for the 7th Generation Pokémon that I don“t like. Whether we“re talking critters that spawn a million Donald Trump memes, a Pokémon that just wants to be loved like Pikachu, or a freaking meteorite with a brand new ability to distinguish itself… I“m truly happy with how the Pokémon of this region are shaping up. The biggest change introduced to Sun & Moon so far was its new UI, which I went on about some time ago. With that, they addressed a pretty consistent criticism with the series, making things more accessible to newcomers who weren“t all that familiar with Pokémon attacks and how they worked. The second huge criticism their addressing appears to be how to deal with HMs, as seen with "Riding Pokémon". These allies will never become a part of your team, but they can be called upon whenever, to carry out properties similar to Surf, Rock Smash, Fly, and possibly more. While it“s not directly stated that these new buddies are going to be the replacement of HMs, so that you don“t need to bog down Pokémon on your team with moves like Cut for the entire game, it“s certainly implied, from both the footage and the website. Huge deal! But the hugest deal of all is the Island Challenge. Without going into too much detail--new Trial Captains seem to offer many unique tasks that aren“t confined to the four walls of a gym anymore, allowing for much more varied tasks that aren“t always “battle the trainers to get to the leader, then win”. Regardless of how the challenge is constructed, there definitely isn“t a Gym Leader at the end of it -- instead, they“ve introduced “Totem Pokémon”. These super strong foes fight you one-on-one... until you“re about to make them faint, then it becomes two-on-one, in what“s called an “S.O.S. Battle”. After you“ve defeated each island“s trial--there“s a Kahuna waiting at the end. I think it“s supposed to function like the “Elite 4” of sorts, since there are four islands and four Kahunas [who also govern each island]. But you don“t save fighting them for the end of the game! So: for the first time in series history: there are no Gyms or Gym Leaders, so the game“s biggest challenges aren“t confined to small buildings in any given town. And -- there doesn“t appear to be an Elite 4 or Pokémon League, outside of the Kahunas themselves... so I genuinely have no idea how this game is going to end. Even if I liked the idea behind gyms (I never have...not since after GSC, anyway), not knowing what“s going to happen next excites the heck out of me. I haven“t even gotten to Z-Moves or how this crazy thing ties into the Pokémon Sun & Moon experience. Maybe I“ll devote an entire piece to them sometime, since they seem primarily focused on letting smaller Pokémon like Pikachu pack a larger punch than previously conceivable, in battle. But: with the UI change, seemingly replacing HMs with Riding Pokémon instead, and the removal of gyms -- we could be seeing the dawn of a new era in Pokémon. What if no new regions going forward had gyms, and instead offered a unique narrative and challenges going forward that no “Pokémon expatriate” could call “more of the same”. I hope the concept of Island Trials--not Gyms--are carried into future main games, to help each and every new region going forward feel refreshing and new. We won“t be waiting long for new news, it seems, as The Pokémon Company has promised even more stuff in less than a week. How do you all feel about some of the biggest changes to come to the series? If you“ve previously become disinterested in Pokémon -- will some of these brand new elements bring you back?
  12. Welcome to the seventy-fifth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed last week's, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Arceus will be available at participating GameStop stores from August 1st through 24th. You'll need to get a card with a serial code. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Going Beyond the Games It“s been quite some time since I last discussed Pokémon Sun & Moon at length. I may wait another week or two, as The Pokémon Company has promised more news on August 1st. It“s interesting how The Pokémon Company, much like the Smash. Bros team“s approach to reveals, has chosen to drip-feed information and brand new Pokémon in specifically tailored trailer bits, so there“s a reduced chance of the Internet ruining things. But I digress: Remember how I said I wasn“t going to download Pokémon GO? Oversaturation is why I caved. I was pretty strong during the first week or so of release, even going so far as to buy Pokémon HeartGold second-hand so I could distract myself with Johto to lessen my bitterness towards the Internet“s flood of memes and thinkpieces. My efforts proved for naught, though: The only way to stop myself from hating the app and everyone who [posts every three hours on Social Media] about it... was to download the Thing and participate, myself. I“m not going to add my thoughts about the Thing to the noise you“ve already heard/read/gotten tired of; rest assured. I just wanted to let the Meowth out of the bag (you might sigh at that line, but Super Mystery Dungeon“s dialogue is often worse!) so that when I do mention it, you“ll know I“m coming from a relatively informed place. Oh, and--if you or someone you love does decide to cave and play the Thing like me--don“t use a Pokémon Trainer Club account. Seriously. The Pokémon Company isn“t taking nearly as much advantage of GO“s success as I thought they would. When the numbers started pouring in--especially regarding how second-hand sales of the main games have increased considerably--I figured we“d see Pokémon Snap released on the Wii U Virtual Console in North America, as well as a push for all the DS side-games like Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs to come that way as well. [Yeah, I know Europe has them already...] I“m still not convinced we won“t see Pokémon Gold, Silver & Crystal released for the 3DS Virtual Console prior to the release of Sun & Moon, but...it“s looking less likely as the months draw on. Very interesting indeed. At least we can rest assured that Detective Pikachu is probably coming West before long. Now that I“ve sufficiently waffled on for 350 words or so, here“s what I really want to talk about: The biggest [positive] takeaway from GO is that it“s gotten people of all ages outside walking around and exercising. It“s an initiative Nintendo has tried with the Wii Fit games, but it wasn“t met with nearly as much success because it didn“t have Pikachu“s face all over it. Devices like Pokémon Pikachu & the PokéWalker from HG/SS attempt to tread that same ground, but they were ultimately held back because the devices themselves are limited in nature. What I want more than anything is for The Pokémon Company to develop an independent 3DS application, like Pokémon Dream Radar, that achieves the same objectives as both GO and the PokéWalker. Here“s my idea: What if I could send my Pikachu from Omega Ruby to a side-app that let me play minigames [not any more complex than what you“d find in the main game, or even Pikachu“s Beach] and interact with it while my 3DS was open, but let me travel with it while the system was closed? The 3DS already has a step-counter to help you earn Play Coins--if that Step Counter could be used in a 3DS application to earn “points” that could be redeemed for PokéMiles, BP [battle Points], or hard-to-obtain items (like Leftovers or Evolution Stones) in the main games--there“s your incentive to take your 3DS with you when you go places, and...yeah...to go places! TPC has also said they“re going to try to get Pokémon GO to work with the main games somehow. Since the first 150 Pokémon are already available in Pokémon RBY [which will work with Sun & Moon], I think transferring your critters to Sun & Moon from GO would be a little redundant, personally. I“d much rather they use this Magical Mystery App I“m making up to...let the egg(s) you“re incubating be temporarily transferred to your 3DS, so you can hatch them by steps taken instead of distance traveled--and maybe not leave the app on your phone open 24-7. Alas, I can dream! The PokéWalker was honestly one of my favorite things TPC has ever created. It“s ultimately simple in nature, but the objectives it helped achieve in-game were numerous, and got dedicated people moving. Whether it works with go or not--if they developed a 3DS application that used the system“s pedometer to unlock similar features in Sun & Moon--everything from otherwise unobtainable Pokémon, to rare items...really, the sky“s the limit--I would be the happiest Clamperl.
  13. Welcome to the seventy-fourth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed my send-off to the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series over the past two weeks, check here and here! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Shaymin is available via the Nintendo Network. It'll be live until July 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Indulging in Interaction Even though my work in Pokémon Yellow is done, I still go back from time to time just to indulge in Pikachu“s Beach. When ping-ponging around the idea of talking about how the Pokémon games have allowed a trainer to interact directly with their collected critters, my first instinct was to say “let“s look at how far we“ve come”. While it“s easy to track a steady growth in most aspects of the main game--everything from music, to graphics, to even the battle UI like I discussed a few weeks ago--Pokémon interactivity has been a bit of a spotty Thing. I“m going to do my best to sum things up here: In Yellow Version, we could interact with the Pikachu we started with directly, as it followed behind us the whole time [so long as we didn“t let it faint or deposit it in a PC]. It had a voice, unique facial expressions, and more than one tiny contribution to the narrative as a whole. Its purpose was...to be the first ever measure of the Happiness value many veteran trainers know the ins-and-outs of, by now. ...Once the Pika-purpose was served, they shelved the concept for Gold & Silver. Still, it inspired things like Pokémon Pikachu [2]. I“m not sure if your experiences differ, but: when we were kids, all my friends yearned for the ability to have any Pokémon you wanted walk behind you. We“d all get our wish eventually...but I“ll get to that. Do you all consider [super] Contests to be along the same lines of interacting with any Pokémon? I personally don“t, because the experience is so closely aligned with battling. HP never goes down, but there are various mechanics and formulas to master if you want to get all your ribbons--you couldn“t really casually raise a “Contest Pokémon”, lest you risk feeding them poffins that aren“t good enough and permanently filling them up. That“s what happened to my ten year-old Pikachu since the Diamond & Pearl days--I am amazed that her contest stats are still alive and at the fixed value they“ve been since around 2007, despite being transported across two generations of games since first raising them. Speaking of Diamond & Pearl: Let“s address Amity Square. This special place in Sinnoh allowed you to bring your own Pikachu, Clefairy, Jigglypuff and Psyduck from first gen--Torchic, Shroomish and Skitty from third gen--and the Sinnoh starters, plus Drifloon, Buneary, Happiny and Pachirisu from the newest games at the time...and explore a small, gated area with one of them at a time. It“s a tiny area, and that“s really a tiny amount of Pokémon when you consider there were 493 upon Diamond & Pearl“s release...but I“m grateful for its inclusion nonetheless. Since I caught my Pikachu in FireRed, I hadn“t gotten the chance to have it walk behind me until Amity Square happened. And then HeartGold & SoulSilver blew the whole concept of interactivity out of the water, beyond most fans“ wildest hopes and dreams. Not only could every single Pokémon in existence follow behind the trainers in that game [including taking the time to program shiny color alterations for those special Pokémon], but it had various places to take photos with your team, dress them [and you, the trainer] up in outfits, and… the PokéWalker. This thing took the premise that Pokémon Pikachu tried to create and put it on steroids, allowing you to walk with any Pokémon you wanted & potentially fight to capture new and exclusive Pokémon when you weren“t walking around with it. As far as feeling like your critters were “walking with you in real life, too”, the PokéWalker was the closest we“ve ever gotten. If you were young enough--or willing to suspend your disbelief enough--it was something really special, you know? And then Black & White took it away and dashed our dreams...okay...so maybe they decided on a different approach instead. Didn“t mean to bring us down a bit there! The Dream World offered a rather obtuse way to catch exclusive Pokémon--through use of flash games and an interactive website. Instead of having Any Given Pokémon walk behind you in the games themselves, Unova let you walk behind them in a dream. There were various mini-games that offered a bit of fun on top of what was otherwise simple point-and-click exploration. And that leads us to 6th Gen, where the flash games of sorts have returned to our Nintendo handhelds, with a bonus means to pet our Pokémon and feed ”em treats, in order to raise a unique stat. Since Affection--not Happiness--is a new attribute to gauge Pokémon with, I thought “PokémonAmie” might come back in some form with Sun & Moon. Turns out I might be right. ...What new levels of interaction will the upcoming games hold beyond PokémonAmie? I hate to dash dreams here, but as Pokémon graphics and presentation start to evolve towards reflecting more realistic-looking people and proportions, the concept of having “all 800-something Pokémon” following behind you will be incredibly out-of-reach. In HeartGold, Wailord took up a single sprite on the screen--in Sun & Moon, if they“d want to keep a more realistic look both inside and outside of battle, there“s no conceivable way our favorite large whale friend will be able to follow behind us faithfully. But! I“m kind of hoping for the return of an Amity Square kind of place, where we can take a select (larger) group of Pokémon behind us to explore a (larger) dungeon, as they walk behind us. You“ve all seen augmented reality photos like this one since the launch of Pokémon GO a while back. I“m not sure if I have it in me to add to the handfuls of “Pokémon GO Thinkpieces” out there, since the Thing is a bigger success than anyone [myself included] could have anticipated. But I will say this: The biggest “problem” I have with the app, philosophically, is that these types of photos can only be taken before the Pokémon in question is actually caught. As far as I know--there is no way to interact with your critters after you catch them. Ever since Red, Blue & Yellow--the “point” of your Pokémon journey is to bond with the critters you catch. GO has Gym Battles, training, and other fodder. But it“s missing the option to--as an example--highlight a Pikachu once you catch it, and let it out of its PokéBall...for photo ops with friends & in various locations besides where you found it. The inclusion of such a feature could be easily added, and it“d help Trainers to become more attached to their respective critters, wouldn“t it? Anyway. That“s quite enough from me. At the end of the day, I“m just looking for mainline [and even spin-off] games that let you do more with your Pokémon friends than make them fight each other. How do you all feel about the level of interaction you“ve seen from games past? Are HeartGold & SoulSilver your favorite because of reasons like I listed? Goodness knows, I“ve jumped back into Johto to help scratch an itch that GO just can“t reach. Be sure to share your thoughts!
  14. Welcome to the seventy-second week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Shaymin is available via the Nintendo Network. It'll be live until July 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! And hey--y'all know I'm not into it, but Pokémon GO! is officially live in North America. Have fun augmenting Pokémon into your realities, friends! -------------------------------- At Least Ampharos Is Proud of Me As of this very moment, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon sits in my “Top 10 Most Played” list on the Activity Log of my 3DS, at just over 128 hours. I“m most of the way there, but there are still a few challenges standing between me and a team of all 720 Pokémon in the game. I“ve completed the Treasure Collection, whose endeavors reveal some of the biggest challenges and time-investments in the game. The only Legendary/Mythical Pokémon missing from my team is Arceus -- the one that unlocks after you“ve Connected with every other Pokémon. So it seems like most of my epic exploration stories are behind me. Goodness knows I“ve done some crazy stuff. I put most of my time into the game last year, but I“ve gone back every now and then -- including very recently. See: Explorers of Sky was released on the Wii U Virtual Console at the end of June. I sunk a good 30 hours into that game while I was sick with a pretty severe cold, clearing all the main story and the postgame up to the end of Shaymin Village. Going back to where the series stood in 2009, and completing almost all of Super Mystery Dungeon“s most challenging tasks, has got me thinking: Even if The Pokémon Company and Spike-Chunsoft go on to create another entry in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spin-off series -- I“m fairly certain “Super” will be the last one I put any real time into. I“ve always wanted to 100% a game in the series -- but the obscene recruiting mechanics and luck that previous entries relied on made it feel like an impossible endeavor. I“ve seen the strengths and weaknesses of my former -- and newest -- Mystery Dungeon favorites, all in the span of a few weeks. So I“m going to devote some time to gathering all my thoughts together and giving the series a proper send-off, even if it takes more than one week to do it. I“m not likely to revisit Explorers of Sky again, and I“m definitely to the point where I can see the light at the end of a Super long tunnel. Without further ado... Beginnings I mentioned, way back in the first IV, that I took some time away from Pokémon -- before my now-fiancée helped me to accept my inevitable fate as a Pokémon Master. Red Rescue Team came around just before Diamond & Pearl, so I wasn“t exactly there on "Day One" to experience it. I don“t remember how I got word of the game, but what initially attracted me to the series was its art-style. Regardless of how much I“ve enjoyed “Super” -- I“m still rather sad that the main artistic hook that got me into the series has been abandoned in favor of fully 3D sprites. There“s something about modelling that makes the world feel somewhat less alive than its cartoon-esqe, 2D origins, in my opinion. I had no experience in the roguelike genre when I played Red Rescue Team for the first time -- but I liked the concept enough. The premise of every dungeon being unique means that it would take a combination of luck, skill and patience to persevere. My only issue with the early games in the series leading up to Explorers of Sky is how absurdly random mechanics [that shouldn“t be] are. The series tagline “Gotta catch ”em all” becomes “Gotta recruit ”em all” in the PMD games, because you are an actual Pokémon. But recruitment was entirely luck-based in the Game Boy Advance/DS games -- you“d often have to explore the same dungeon a few hundred times to get the Pokémon you wanted, especially if it was a Legendary or starter. It“s like they gave the most popular Pokémon the lowest recruitment percentage rates. Still, even if I had more gripes than compliments at first, I really liked the narrative (along with almost every aspect of the game“s presentation). I didn“t play through ”til the end, since I was borrowing a friend“s copy at the time... but I figured this wouldn“t be the “first but last” Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game, and I“d do the next one proper justice after I“d gotten back into the main games. Then came Explorers of Time & Darkness, and Sky. I“m going to hold myself back on discussing the narrative of both those games and “Super” until next week (heck, I“ll even put out an advance spoiler-warning; I“m not holding back!), but there is one story-related tangent I can discuss that“s specific to Sky. “Special Episodes” are unique to that game, and are brief 1-2 hour long “Chapters” that dismiss the player characters for a while in favor of helping to develop other major and minor characters in the “Explorers” world. For example: You get to play as Guildmaster Wigglytuff when he was an itty bitty Igglybuff, to learn how and why he first became an explorer. That kind of approach will probably be the only way to get me to experience another Pokémon Mystery Dungeon game, after I finish “Super”: 1-2 hour “Episodes” where the focal point is more narrative-based than anything else. I wonder if it“s too late to hope for Downloadable Content for Super Mystery Dungeon that accomplishes something like that. Probably! Revisiting Sky on the Wii U Virtual Console has shown me how much both Gates to Infinity and “Super” have made the mechanics much easier to bear on the player. You can switch teammates on the fly in the 3DS games; you can“t in the originals. Moves like “Flamethrower” phase through your allies to hit enemies behind them in the 3DS games; they just smack your allies in the original (without proper “IQ Skills” -- whew, you wanna talk about a series concept that needed to be reinvented in a big hurry). Your allies in the early games start out dumb as bricks, collectively. You“d be more likely to waste Reviver Seeds on your allied characters than you would actually fending for yourself, in dungeons. But ultimately, I was willing to tolerate the more methodical aspects of the early PMD games because their narrative was worthwhile -- or in the case of “Explorers”: really freaking great. Having tools like these that let you modify the kinds of jobs you could take was a big help for reducing some of the grindy aspects, too. But Gates to Infinity marked the beginning of a few gameplay evolutions, while taking a few steps backward in terms of both narrative and the entire “Job List” system. I was ready to give the PMD spin-off series one last chance with “Super”, before I considered Sky the exception and not the rule. Man, am I glad I did. And Now You“ve read my review of Super Mystery Dungeon, I hope. I don“t have to reiterate how involving the Connection Orb in recruitment helped kill my single biggest concern with the series, but I will. While I wrote that up before really sinking my teeth into the postgame [as described above], my words still ring true. This game is tough as nails -- I tried getting Holly into it, but it ultimately proved too much of a chore for her. I can“t imagine many who aren“t used to adapting quickly and needing to power through high-pressure battle situations will get very far into the main game, nor will they last too long in the postgame at all. As someone who just got done praising the main series for its increased inclusiveness -- SMD“s biggest flaw is definitely that it“s the biggest challenge of the series, by far. But, near the end of my adventures, I can say it“s done enough to not be "impossible." The Explorers games had you fight Dialga at one point, then Palkia much later on. SMD has you fight Dialga, Palkia and Mega Rayquaza back to back in the same dungeon. I took on Reshiram and Zekrom at the same time. The “boss” Mewtwo you fight spams Recover and heals 998 HP, just when you think you“ve gotten the upperhand. If you manage to kill the first form... it freaking Mega Evolves right after that. And hey, who can forget an entire 15 floor dungeon filled with nothing but Deoxys forms, and another with Genesects? Calling this game “the Dark Souls of Pokémon” would not be a stretch. I“ve absolutely earned my victories/accomplishments in this game. And I can“t run around and call them “impossible” either -- because concepts like Alliances and Looplets help give any given team an upper-hand as they explore. I even compared stats between my Partner Pokémon -- Pikachu -- and a Raichu I recruited at some point during the game. They were the exact same across the board. So, a major plus is that -- barring the obvious Legendary and Mythical “deity Pokémon” with extreme stats across the board -- no one Pokémon outdoes another, in terms of stats. You don“t have to evolve to win; you just have to pick the best team to fit the circumstances you“re presented with. And I have. I“ve described how the presentation, characters and world-building helped me get into the series -- and how brand new mechanics and genuine (not entirely luck-based) challenges helped me stay with Super Mystery Dungeon ”til (close to) the end. But there“s still so much more to elaborate on before I feel comfortable saying “goodbye” to talking about these games. So I“ll see you next week, to spoil the heck out of the things that make both Super Mystery Dungeon and the Explorers games so great -- their characters and world.
  15. Welcome to the seventy-first week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. If you're reading this on the day it's published, Shaymin should be available via the Nintendo Network. It'll be live from July 1st through 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Interface These past few weeks have been filled with all kinds of surprise twists. I“ll get to E3 2016 in a moment since just one aspect of is what I“ll be focusing on. But after I got back from Los Angeles, I caught one heck of a severe cold [hence my absence last week], and then... three Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games were released on the Wii U Virtual Console. Europe already had Red & Blue Rescue Team, the first games in the series. But we got Explorers of Sky ahead of them -- you know, the one I said was the pinnacle of the series both in a previous IV and in my Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon review. Since I replayed the entirety of Sky“s main story and Special Episodes while I was in repair -- next week, I“ll talk about the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series quite a bit. For now, let“s go back to the main series. There are plenty of to talk about. Heck, they even revealed . And Battle Royale seems like it“s going to turn the competitive metagame on its head once again. But my biggest takeaway from the 45 minute “Zelda distraction” from Nintendo“s inaugural Treehouse Live stream for this year“s E3 is how welcoming and crazy-good the new UI feels in Pokémon Sun & Moon. Barrel can attest, ”cause he watched it right along with me: I was over the moon about how cleaned up the menus looked in battle, and how much more accessible they“ve made attacks, typing and more. I will never not fight for making the games I love friendlier to newcomers. I“m the type to consider adding Easy Mode to Dark Souls and other “controversial” fodder. Thankfully, though, Pokémon“s barrier of entry is relatively tame. Key items like the Experience Share (current gen) have made the grind easier than it“s ever been, which helps more people finish what they start. Everything“s become rhythmical and increasingly easier to bear over time, because -- as the adage goes -- it“s always someone“s first ever Pokémon game. Still, the Pokémon series“ largest barrier is... that there are now over 721 Pokémon. We might break 800 with every new critter Sun & Moon introduce! So let me be the first to say: it“s about dang time that they“ve rolled out a UI that accounts for things like what type an enemy Pokémon is, what move that you select will be most effective against it, and even how your specific stats have been lowered by altering moves like “Growl” and Abilities like “Intimidate”. There“s no more uncertainty when it comes to that. If you“re the type, you can literally stack numbers against your opponent, to see who will come out on top! Gosh, it feels so utterly refreshing. I“ve been waiting for them to make cosmetic changes like this to the battle menu since at least Diamond & Pearl. The battle menus aren“t all that“s improved, though. Zeroing in on your character when a trainer is near will stop from being surprised when a battle initiates, and make for the younger crowd playing these games to have an easier time of it. Indeed, I“m quite interested in the narrative, for the Sun & Moon Legendaries, how Magearna factors in to all this, the QR code stuff, and more. But my single biggest takeaway from all the E3 news and footage is that Pokémon as a whole just got a little more welcoming. The changes appear subtle to most people, but I for one am elated. It“s been a long time coming!
  16. Welcome to the seventieth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Manaphy is live on the Nintendo Network until June 24th, 2016. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- Synchronized The Pokémon Collective is buzzing about wristwear. What kind of fancy gear is the Alola Trainer wearing on his wrist in the Rotom-Pokédex Artwork? Rather than offer up E3 Predictions like I did around this time last year, I“m going to take some time to explain “Synchro Evolution.” It means I“ll have to bring up the anime again, which I“ve rarely done in the history of this feature. But I think I“ll be doing that a bit more as I analyze, since the show seems to be moving a few beats ahead of the games. There are two things Sun & Moon haven“t accounted for yet: the new forms of Zygarde introduced in Pokémon XYZ and Ash“s Greninja. “Synchro Evolution” relates to the latter -- although I think we can expect at least a side-plot or post-game content devoted to the former in November. Now, I haven“t watched the show in quite some time, so I“m only gleaning from sources like Serebii. But from what I gather, Synchro and Mega Evolutions are pretty similar. But the key differences lie in the fact that only Ash“s Greninja has been affected by the Thing so far, and -- well, when you “synchronize,” it also means the trainer gets hurt if the Pokémon gets hurt. Instead of debating mechanics and how this new form of evolution could affect multiple Pokémon and be an addition or alternative to Mega Evolving in battle -- I“m going to talk narrative instead. “Primal Reversions” were a concept introduced in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire for the first time, and those stayed specific to the Hoenn Legendaries. Rayquaza“s a different beast with a completely different Tournament Tier; we“ll save that for another day. What if -- instead of being some Big New Sweeping Thing in Generation VII that will alter the metagame, Synchro Evolution is mitigated to only serving a narrative purpose and affecting just a single Pokémon? See the way the Alola Trainer grabs that Litten and pulls it close, offering up interaction on a previously unseen level? This kind of interaction kinda speaks to me, a little bit. I“m of the school of thought that -- rather than offer up significant changes that affect multiple Pokémon like Mega Evolution -- Synchro Evolution will primarily be a narrative device that bonds Alola Trainers with their starters unlike any other game in the series. Rather than serving up Mega versions of the Alola starters -- ”synchronized” versions of them would make them feel much more unique and important, in my eyes. There are a few holes in my theory, like how the story would account for folks who keep Popplio in its innate form instead of evolving it during the game. But, they could also make the story segments that tie in this kind of stuff optional, I“d imagine. Or tie it to your Rotom as well (assuming the one in your Pokédex can travel with you as a member of your team). Could you imagine stacking some kind of Rotom evolution on top of its already numerous forms? I don“t really have a grand or sweeping statement to make this week. Just wanted to show you what the Internet“s been clamoring about since Big Reveal #2. If you want the scoop on Ash“s Greninja, the episode where it first happens is called “A Festival of Decisions”. There's more fun in "Meeting at Terminus Cave!" Both these episodes are on Pokémon TV right now, but they may not be there long. I feel like the whole “it hurts the Trainer as well as the Pokémon” angle of Synchro Evolution is much better served to the potential narrative of Sun & Moon versus mechanics. But I guess we“ll see. Know what else I think we“ll see during the Big Pokémon Special Thing planned at E3 next week? The announcement of Pokémon Gold, Silver & Crystal for the 3DS Virtual Console. Pokémon RBY sold a cool 1.5 million copies, after all. There“s your prediction. I“ll be taking next week off, since Barrel and I will be on the show floor at E3. But if the stars align and I cross paths with Mr. Masuda while wandering, I might Mega Evolve.
  17. Welcome to the sixty-ninth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Manaphy is live on the Nintendo Network until June 24th, 2016. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! -------------------------------- It's Alive! The shown for Pokémon Sun & Moon this time yesterday morning was over before two minutes went by. But it gave us a closer look at the Alola region, key characters and Pokémon, and something to... liven up the Pokédex, unlike ever before. It may have been a tiny trailer, but -- what little information we could gather should fuel excitement and speculation for the whole summer, since Pokémon won“t be at E3. ...Oh, wait. As it turns out, shortly after revealing a new trailer, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company announced that both Sun & Moon and Pokémon GO would get special segments devoted to them during Day 2 of Nintendo Treehouse Live @ E3. I still can“t figure out why they didn“t tell us about this from the get-go, but I suppose now we know why Mr. Masuda will be at E3, and fans can reasonably assume that Pokémon could share some of the spotlight with a very Zelda-focused Nintendo booth in Los Angeles. Pokémon GO“s Q&A will take place at 10 AM PT on June 15th. And the “E3 2016 Pokémon Special will happen at 7 AM PT on June 16th. Since the latter takes place before the show floor opens that day... I wonder what kind of presentation we can expect? If you“re reading this on the day it“s published, the E3 excitement begins in just ten days -- technically eleven if we“re considering when the show floor opens. Crazy; I guess Pokémon is alive and well during E3 this year. But hey! Alola is confirmed to be a region consisting of multiple islands, like many have theorized. It“s kind of crazy how detailed this artwork is. You can see where various roads on each island lead, as well as distinct environments, cities and facilities that each one has. While the “tropical” theme of Alola is most definitely consistent, I feel like the whole region hides plenty of surprises. One thing I mentioned last time that seems even more evident now: I think each island is a little too far away to allow for surfing between them. I feel like boats, and then Soaring (like the system introduced in Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire) will be how players can access each island. While I could be right about the soaring speculation -- it seems I“m definitely wrong about how shifting to battles could work. Among the things we saw in this trailer that weren“t in the last one: tall grass, likely for encountering Wild Pokémon. Freeze frame a few times during the trailer, specifically after the big artwork for the full Alola Region is shown. But, I“m not counting out my point of view completely. See this showcasing Hau, your new friend in Alola? The trailer specifically skips a battle transition like you“d normally see in the games, fading from one screen to the next -- but still highlights Hau (while he“s very close to the screen) -- to introduce the “Trainer wants to fight!” text as it moves to the battle unfolding. Wild Pokémon battles may be the same as always, with a screen-fade in tall grass. But I still suspect the way you face trainers could be altered in Generation 7, and moving forward. Hau also wasn“t the only new character formally introduced in the trailer. Kukui is confirmed to be (one of?) the game“s Professor(s). Did they put his left hand in his pocket in this artwork to hide a wedding ring, like many have speculated? And then there“s Lillie, Kukui“s "Mysterious Assistant," who gets a bit more airtime in . Not really sure what makes her “mysterious” just yet, but I suppose we“ll see! Okay. One last bit -- one that I might devote an entire piece to, once we have more information. This game“s Pokédex is literally alive -- it“s a Rotom. It talks, and is quote, “...a whole new way for people and Pokémon to communicate, woo!” WHAT. So you“re telling me -- for the first time in series history -- players could have a Pokémon travelling with them that has the ability to speak, like Meowth from Team Rocket in the anime? Do we have a Pokémon translator now? IS THIS A NEW FORM OF ROTOM THAT CAN FIGHT IN BATTLE?! ...Okay, I“m way too excited about this & have way too many questions. And did I mention that you can add pages to your Pokédex by using Pokémon QR codes on real-life products, as seen in this artwork? What the heck could this be pointing towards? I have a feeling the brand is about to expand in previously unprecedented ways -- like amiibo, Heaven help me. The Japanese trailer showed off bits that the rest of the world didn“t see -- like what“s happening on the bottom screen. It“s definitely a map of the area where you“re standing, but ... those symbols fill my head with more questions. Is the DexNav indeed returning? Is this just a tiny piece of the bottom screen, or what...um, Rotom-Dex... is capable of? I guess we“ll know even more information in the weeks ahead! I didn“t even talk about Solgaleo and Lunala. They“ve got new typing combinations, new moves, and new abilities. How do we all feel about the new slew of information? How do you feel about Nintendo“s expanded E3 plans that came after the trailer was shown? How unreasonably excited are you that the Pokédex is ALIVE? Be sure to share your thoughts!
  18. Welcome to the sixty-eighth week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Manaphy is going to be distributed starting June 1st, via the Nintendo Network. So, not now--but soon! Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! And hey, battles for the Johto Classic tournament begin today and last through the weekend. If you registered, you have a chance to earn Whitney's Miltank for participating. -------------------------------- Dog Day Afternoon When I covered Pokémon Snap last week, a small part of me expected it to show up on the Wii U Virtual Console prior to the published piece going up. While my wish didn“t come true -- we did end up getting something Pokémon-related: PokéPark Wii: Pikachu“s Great Adventure. I“m not sure if it was due to financial reasons or just too many other things to play at the time, but I never got around to that game or its sequel when they first came out. Maybe I“ll devote one of these IVs to playing that for the first time. For now: Let“s speculate s“more about Pokémon Sun & Moon in the weeks leading up to E3. A few things of note have come to light in subsequent screens and tiny bits of footage released since the big Alola reveal, and there“s even more news promised on June 2nd. There are two unique things about the above screenshots that you might not see unless you know where to look. The first image, courtesy of CoroCoro“s own unique starter trailer, show off what many believe to be a brand new dog Pokémon. I“m kind of curious if it“ll wind up being designed from a handful of exotic, even extinct dog breeds specific to Hawaii, like the Poi Dog, for example. Most generations have tried their hand at some sort of dog-like Pokémon. Growlithe is native to Kanto, Houndour to Johto, Poochyena to Hoenn, Lillipup to Unova, and Froufrou to Kalos. As each region has picked up a unique real-life counterpart, so too has its respective dog Pokémon. Am I blanking on a dog for the Sinnoh region? Seems like Diamond & Pearl had more cats! The second screenshot is even more interesting. I mean, it“s one thing that both battling trainers themselves are now shown in scenes, as we“ve seen since the reveal trailer. But if you look a little closer--someone“s spectating their match. This could be a special instance, and moments where someone“s watching your fight could only happen a few times. Or--if you“ll indulge me for a paragraph or two--it could be a much larger signifier. What if, for the first time in series history, battles don“t transition from the “overworld screen” to the “battle screen”? For the past twenty years, mainline Pokémon games“ battle interface has always looked similar to Final Fantasy, where the screen fades and opens up to the arena. It would be a pretty big change if, for the first time, the battle screen worked more like Chrono Trigger--where trainers simply take a few steps back and hawk their Pokéballs out on an arena in real time. It would account for there being little difference in the arena that the main character and his friend are fighting in, as well as allow for spectators to watch whenever the scene“s appropriate. What if a Gym Leader“s subordinates got to watch as you fought for your badge? What if your battle with the Big Bad Team Leader had a group of onlookers--or even civilians--watching as you administered defeat? This small, subtle Thing could be pointing the way for some rather big changes. “But what about tall grass?” That“s just it -- did you see any in ? We haven“t yet! What if every single Pokémon you encountered was a shadow that ran up to you, or flew out at you, like several have in various environments throughout Generations 5 & 6? The shadow could approach you, and then reveal itself as the game moves into “battle formation” from the same overworld screen. What if, instead of worrying about too many encounters in caves and on the waters of Alola, you could take measures to strategically avoid hanging shadows or other means of enemy encounters? ...Indeed, I realize that“s a bit of a stretch. But you“d be surprised how much just seeing an additional person in a battle scene has got my proverbial cogs turning. All right: one last thing. It“s been theorized that Alola will have a bunch of islands, like the Hawaiian islands themselves. But how will you travel between them? Like the guy behind Serebii dot net brought up -- I think Soaring is going to come back. I“d say you“ll travel by boat from island to island most of the time, but being able to take to the sky would solve the potential for another region with…”too much water”. And there we have it! There“s a little more speculation on my part, to lead us into the next reveal. I“ll be a happy guy if my educated guesses end up becoming true in the next trailer. I wonder if we“ll see the final evolutions of the new starter Pokémon as well. What do you hope to see?
  19. Welcome to the sixty-seventh week of my Pokémon feature here on Game Podunk! In case you missed the last one, check it out! Stay tuned for future entries coming every Friday. Now is your chance to grab Darkrai at participating GameStop stores. The last day to do so is May 24th. Every single Mythical Pokémon will be distributed during a specific month for the remainder of this year. Now may be your only chance for a really long time, to actually catch them all! And hey, if you're reading this on the day it's published, you can grab a Shiny Yveltal from the Nintendo Network with your copy of XY/ORAS. Last but not least, you can register for a chance to participate in the Pokémon GO field test if you live in North America. -------------------------------- Snap Judgements I can“t remember how I first heard about Pokémon Snap. Was it in Nintendo Power, or via teeny, tiny rumblings on the much-smaller-at-the-time IGN dot com? Either way -- the only screens I saw were of Todd... or Snap, depending on who you ask... on foot, barely missing shots of a wild Mew in action. As we know now -- , and not indicative of what the gameplay would actually be like. But man, was my head full of ideas. I pictured an open, albeit gated world -- like Kanto itself, but with the objective being to capture Pokémon on film instead of in PokéBalls. So. If I“m being completely honest: once I found out that the game was on rails, I was kind of disappointed. I kept looking for ways to stop the Zero One buggy that Todd traveled in, so I could get my perfect shot. Alas, part of the challenge was getting your highest scores while on the move. While I was disappointed at first, and perhaps let my own wild imagination leave me with a lesser impression of the game than if I“d just gotten to play it outright -- the charm Pokémon Snap had stuck with me. Where else can you get Pikachu on balloons, or riding on Articuno? It didn“t have all 151 Pokémon, but it had enough to keep me reasonably entertained. And hey! You could take your pictures off to a Blockbuster kiosk to get them printed out, too. The first game was such a huge success, that I was almost sure they“d try to capture lightning twice...and make a bigger, better “Pokémon Snap 2” on the Nintendo 64 or Gamecube. But, I guess the closest that we“re going to get is when Miyamoto said “Pokémon GO kind of reminds me of Snap!” Mhm. Whatever you say, Mr. Miyamoto. There have been 570 new Pokémon added to the total since Pokémon Snap was released. There“s infinite possibility here! The Internet“s certainly been clamoring for it, for about as long as we“ve been clamoring for a fully 3D Pokémon game. I only vaguely alluded to it a long time ago. But I“d like to go into a little more detail now, regarding what my ideal Pokémon Snap sequel could be like. If they insisted on keeping it on rails like the Nintendo 64 game, I think both the Wii U and 3DS are ideal platforms to suit the experience, thanks to gyroscopic controls. Moving around the Wii U Gamepad a full 360 degrees to look at Pokémon both in front and behind you as you moved along from level to level just sounds super fun. They could totally make the points of view work like Star Fox Zero, where the TV would feature Todd and what was directly in front of him, while the Gamepad would be your camera itself, allowing for Zoom and all kinds of other functions. I don“t think the 3DS would be able to mirror this experience exactly, but I suppose it could come pretty close. More than anything, though -- I“d like a Pokémon Snap sequel to take you out of a moving buggy in favor of putting you on foot, where you could freely explore areas and move at your own pace. They could do so much to mirror what actual nature photographers experience -- have you wait for a bunch of Hoothoots that only come out at night -- slowly sneaking up on your shot so you don“t disturb it and make it run away. Like, the possibilities are pretty limitless. I“m really surprised The Pokémon Company haven“t tapped into this market, especially considering how much fans want it. It“s not as though the original wasn“t wildly successful--I think releasing a sequel to the game during the 20th anniversary would practically print money. But, I suppose I“m just a dreamer. The game is available on the Wii U Virtual Console in Japan (allowing for Restore Points, Miiverse posts, and all kinds of fun that are way different from the Wii Virtual Console“s release. No word on when it“s coming to North America or Europe. But maybe when it does make its way here -- eventually -- I“ll follow up this largely speculative piece with a sort of “Does It Hold Up?” retrospective on the Nintendo 64 Classic. There“s lots more to talk about RE: Pokémon Sun & Moon, especially prior to E3. But I figured it was finally time for a bit of a break this week, taking a moment to discuss one of my favorite spin-off games. What were your favorite parts about Pokémon Snap? Do you have any fun memories to share? What would your ideal sequel to the game be like?